McKenzie Valley Wellness

A Community Built & Managed Non-Profit 501c3


Manena Schwering (left) was the granddaughter of Samual Sparks, the man who founded Blue River.  She was named after one of Samuel Sparks daughters, who died in infancy.  After graduating from the University of Oregon with a degree in journalism, she loved to write books about local history.  Frances O’Brien dedicated her life and her home to establish the Blue River Library.  Unincorporated Communities thrive on community builders.  The McKenzie River Clinic was created by volunteers like these two women.

Our History

In the 1970s upper McKenzie Valley residents formed a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, McKenzie River Clinic, to start a local health clinic for the community.

The Clinic was funded initially as a pilot project for a new federal initiative to establish Rural Health Clinics in areas lacking primary health care. The Clinic opened its doors for business in March, 1977, and was the first Rural Health Clinic in Oregon.

The McKenzie River Clinic has operated continuously since 1977, providing primary health care to the McKenzie Valley community. It is located in Blue River, Oregon, on Highway 126 and is the only primary health care facility between Springfield and Sisters.

In 2019, the Board of Directors transferred the medical practice of McKenzie River Clinic to Orchid Health, a small company that is laser-focused on providing excellent rural health care in Oregon. Our 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization changed its name to McKenzie Valley Wellness so that Orchid could keep the Clinic’s name. We kept ownership of the building and leased it to Orchid Health.

On September 7, 2020, the catastrophic Holiday Farm Fire burned the clinic building along with hundreds of homes and businesses in the McKenzie Valley.

Our Story. Our Community’s History.

McKenzie Wellness Center 2018McKenzie Wellness Center After the 2020 Holiday Farm Fire

During Sep 7, 2020 to Oct 29, 2020 the McKenzie River Valley experienced catastrophic loss. The Holiday Farm Fire ranks among the largest wildfires in the history of the state of Oregon, burning a total of 173,393 acres centered on the McKenzie River valley in Lane County.

Our Future

Our nonprofit organization still owns the lot in Blue River, across the street from the post office. We are committed to re-establishing the new clinic there.

McKenzie Valley Wellness is a nonprofit corporation organized under the laws of Oregon, based in the McKenzie Valley. Our Board of Directors oversees the activities, financial affairs, and the rebuilding of this new clinic.